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Photo for illustrative purposes only.

Dan A'Vard/Flickr

Photo for illustrative purposes only.

With many private animal rescue shelters in Qatar stretched to capacity, a new government facility initially scheduled to open north of Doha this December now appears to be several years away.

Last month, the Ministry of Environment and Ashghal issued a tender for a firm to provide consulting services, including pre-design work as well as to oversee the construction tendering and contract award.

Photo for illustrative purposes only.

Dogs in Doha/Facebook

Photo for illustrative purposes only.

Few details were published, apart from an expectation that the contractor would complete the work within 827 days of being awarded the job, likely pushing the project into 2018.

Past reports said construction of the facility, which is to be located in Umm Salal north of Duhail, was to begin in January 2014 and wrap up by the end of this year.

However, an animal welfare volunteer told Doha News that it was her understanding that the project was still in the planning stages.

The initial vision for the facility was to build some 120 kennels over 3,000 sqm of land.

Ministry of Environment officials were not immediately available to provide more details on the tender.

Currently, animal rescue services are largely decentralized and led by several volunteer-run organizations that have struggled at times to handle the influx of stray and abandoned animals brought to their premises, as well as pay for food, vaccinations and other operations.

Charitable status

While authorities in Qatar appear to moving ahead with construction of a new shelter, many other governments around the world opt to support privately run non-profit animal welfare centers rather than operate their own facilities, according to Janet Berry, the co-founder of the Qatar Animal Welfare Society (QAWS).

For illustrative purposes only.

Peter Kovessy

For illustrative purposes only.

She said the money being allocated to construct the new shelter could go a long way towards supporting and stabilizing the country’s five existing facilities.

“We have a volunteer base, we have the facilities and the know-how,” she said.

Other organizations, such as Paws Rescue Qatar (PAWS), say they’ve offered
to run a government-funded pound where rescued animals could be held until they are adopted or relocated, but that authorities have so far been unresponsive to the idea.

In addition to financial support, Derry said the government could help organizations such as QAWS by granting them charitable status so that they can more easily solicit donations.

“We do what we do, and love what we do. It could just be that much easier if we could sit down with the authorities. We want to help them as much as we would like some help,” she said, adding that even though QAWS is “treading water” it still has a positive working relationship with the government.

Derry said QAWS is currently caring for some 160 dogs, 100 cats and a handful of farm animals. The 13-year-old organization has a waiting list of other animals waiting to be dropped off.

Thoughts?

Trash at Golden beach.

Neil McBride

Trash at Golden beach.

As part of its 10th National Cleanliness Campaign, Qatar’s Ministry of Environment will kick off a two-month-long initiative to clean up the nation’s beaches and other outdoor spaces.

Student volunteers and participants from other ministries and state institutions are expected to spend December and January working on improving environmental conditions here, the MOE said in a statement.

The move comes at a time when complaints about the state of Qatar’s public spaces have been increasing.

As the weather cools down, many residents have been flocking to Qatar’s coastal areas to enjoy the water and the sand. But the increased presence of visitors has led to heavy littering, especially on the weekends.

In response, many volunteer groups across the country have been stepping up efforts in recent months to clean up beaches and environment sites like the mangroves.

Turtles at Fuwairat Beach.

Shafeeq Hamza

Turtles at Fuwairat Beach.

The goal is not only to beautify Qatar’s shores but also to protect the environment. For example, Fuwairat beach is a popular breeding ground for Hawksbill turtles and during the peak breeding season, between April and July, a section of the beach is fenced off in a bid to protect their fragile nesting areas.

But this year especially, rubbish left in the sand confused the turtles, who find it difficult to return to the spot where they hatched to lay their eggs.

The MOE hasn’t yet provided details on how to participate in its new campaign, but on Twitter, has asked residents to report environment violations by calling 998.

Thoughts?

image

Qatar is “absolutely free of horse meat,” a Ministry of Environment official in the livestock management department has told Al Watan.

Farhoud al Hajri, head of the animal division, was responding to concerns among residents about the quality of canned meat sold here following a recent scandal in Europe in which horse meat was sold as beef in several packaged foods. 

Just today, Nestle, the world’s largest food company, pulled beef pasta meals from grocery stores in Italy and Spain after finding trace amounts of horse meat in them.

According to officials here, Qatar has rigorously tested the quality of imported livestock and meat products here ever since the 2008 mad cow scare in the United States.

Qatar Tribune translates:

(Al Hajri) also said that the livestock management department is in constant touch with the World Organisation for Animal Health, to stay abreast of any new information on any disease of epidemic proportions in other countries and take steps to protect the country. 

Further, live, imported animals are monitored by veterinary quarantine, which is the first line of action to safeguard public health in Qatar. 

Thoughts?

Credit: Photo for illustrative purposes only by Chris Waits